For the most part, I am grateful that I receive a paycheck each month that affords me the luxury of belonging to a gym in Israel. And not just any gym, the Holmes Place of Beer Sheva, which is walking distance to both my office and my home, and which I do not at all take for granted. There’s just those little things that make me miss the holy grail of fitness centers, Lakeview Athletic Club, where I spent the past 4 years of my gym life in Chicago.
Here’s some annoying things about my gym in Beer Sheva:
1) They DO NOT have TOWELS (!!!!!!!)
WTF, what kind of gym doesn’t have towels. Mind you, this is a gym with a POOL, and JACUZZI, and SAUNA, and SHOWERS – all things that require a towel. The gym that I went to in Jerusalem way back when I was on a MASA program required that you trade in your keys for a towel with the receptionist. I thought it was strange, but in the end it was fine – I got a clean towel each time, they got my keys, and there was no concern I would steal the towel (I presume that is why they took my keys). My new gym, Holmes Place, widely regarded as the nicest gyms in Israel (probably because its a chain and Israelis love chains), does not even offer towels for ransom – they simply don’t have them. If you forget to bring one from home, you can purchase a towel for upwards of 50NIS (roughly $15). Or, like so many people do, you can just sweat all over the machines and mats. (vomit)
Today, I spoke to the membership rep and I asked her why they don’t have towels, explaining that towels are a basic necessity of literally any gym all over the world. I asked her if it was because of Israel’s water shortage (which is the only reason I would be willing to accept), and she said she has no idea why they don’t have towels. However, she did explain that if they did offer towels to members, membership fees would be “way more expensive.” I’m sorry, this is the most expensive gym in Beer Sheva, and supposedly the nicest gym in Beer Sheva – what am I paying for??? To bring my wet towel to work with me after I shower at the gym? No thanks. Too bad I already bought a year-long membership. Womp womp.
2) People at my gym are ridiculous. Take this person, for example:
Let’s ignore the fact that this woman has either a) been on that elliptical machine for days on end or b) not eaten for days or c) both – and please notice that she has a liter of Pepsi with her. People with serious eating disorders or workout addictions frequent gyms all over the planet, but I have never seen anyone at the gym drink soda while on a machine. And while I thought for a second to give her the benefit of the doubt, and that perhaps she filled this liter plastic bottle with a protein shake or energy drink that just happened to be the same color as pepsi, she then shattered any sense of hope when she opened the twist cap and a loud, crisp fizzy sound erupted from her bottle.
3) There are a few “no cell phones while on machines” signs posted around the gym, which, just as you suspected, many people do not adhere to. However, there are no “please do not gossip loudly to your partner” signs, and I learned yesterday that that is actually way worse than cell phone talkers.
Yesterday, two women [in matching workout outfits (jumpsuits?)] were literally yelling emphatically about something or other while on ellipticals next to each other. Obviously, I took a picture – it was too outrageous. My gym has lots of workout buddies – men, women, old, young – everyone seems to come in pairs. Mostly they check in with each other, like any normal people would do when going to the gym with a friend. But these two women were something else. It was as if they were at the mall and had just run into each other after months of not seeing each other, or as if one of them had just given birth and the other one was exclaiming about her adorable baby for half an hour. Here is the photo I sneaked (I couldn’t help myself, and also they were too wrapped up in each other to notice); please pay extra attention to the emotion and gesticulation happening between these two women on the left:
4) One of my gym anxieties came true yesterday when I learned that I cannot trust the Holmes Place iPhone app. I was immensely looking forward to a spin class after a weekend of eating potatoes, cake, and cholent, and arrived at the gym a full 10 minutes prior to 7PM when the class was listed online. I entered the room, ready to take a bike, and then understood that the class had already happened. At 6. Nooooooooo!!!!!!
I, along with 2 other angry Israeli women, stormed the receptionist to complain that nobody had informed us of the class’s new schedule, when she pulled out the new December Group Fitness Schedule, that had not been updated online. This is annoying, but more importantly it made me realize that I can no longer rely on the gym app. Why even have an app if you’re not going to use it to update your members?!
Okay, that’s all the gossip I have to share about my gym so far (though I haven’t tried the pool yet, so that could be material for a whole separate post). And for now, I should probably go to the gym more often if I’m going to complain about it.